See how the Australian designer puts her own style into practice in her Chelsea rental, balancing refined touches with real life.
Photos by Genevieve Garruppo.
Yes, even designers deal with rental and budget-constraints. But looking at ’s incredible Chelsea apartment you wouldn’t know it.
The designer is known for her invitingly luxe spaces and so it was no question that her own abode would perfectly balance chicness and comfort—oh and did we mention that it also needed to be accessible for her husband and young son, budget-friendly, and feature only rental-friendly updates?
No problem for Tali who imbued the two-bedroom-plus-office, 2,200 square-foot space with moody touches like a faux concrete wall treatment, terrazzo-print wallpaper, light fixtures she can move to her next abode (not that she’s allowed to move), and a mix of vintage finds. We asked her how the space came together.
How would you describe your own personal style?
I would describe my own style as textured, warm, restrained, styled, non-traditional. I think all the spaces I design look a little different as I am usually hyper-focused on my clients’ specific tastes and needs. However, there is a common thread in the shapes of furniture, the floorplans, the mix of colors, and the way I style with art and decor. People who know my work can often pick a space I have done.
Now do the same thing but with four words.
Textured, moody, evocative, and sexy?
What was your design inspo for your home?
Fred Flinstone’s Home.
This is your space—but you did have some restrictions. How did you maintain your visions while compromising for a rental and to make the space family-friendly?
I didn’t want to overcapitalize and invest money in the bones of the space. I was also on a strict budget, so I did need to be creative with how I distributed the money. I didn’t really design the space to cater for my son… I only made sure there was space for him to run and scoot. I like having beautiful things and I want him to learn that there are places in the house we can play ball and spaces that we can’t…haha.
Your space leans to the moody/cool side. How do you manage to balance that feeling while keeping it warm and approachable?
I think it’s moody but warm in tone—I used warmer grays, etc. but I know what you mean. I keep my spaces approachable by keeping them comfy! That’s a rule: you need to be able to “live” there and then it feels warm by default.
Is there anything you tested in this space that clients have been too afraid to do?
The big ass chair. The floor to ceiling art. The rehabbed chairs from the ’60s— Most people are afraid to invest in old furniture from the ’60s. I don’t think a client would invest in the large, crazy, dark red rattan chair from 1950s Italy… but I think it’s a very important piece. But, my clients usually let me do my thing.
Your space reads as very curatorial without feeling overwhelming. How do manage to create such a streamlined space while being in the marketplace and seeing beautiful things all the time?
It’s hard! I love love love furniture, lighting, objects, and art. It’s my absolute passion. However, I realized from the get-go that most of the items I love weren’t going to be included because of my budget. Instead, I focused on the feeling I wanted to create and found pieces that fit into that.
In terms of curation and styling—it’s something that comes naturally to me. I collect objects and always have.
We’ve showcased your space before. How has it evolved over time? How has your style changed?
In this space I made sure I had a conviction behind any new piece of furniture. I took longer to furnish the space and made sure the pieces were either inexpensive and “just for this space” or were long-term investment pieces that will fit flexibly into all my future spaces.
I also love exploring the different sides of my style. I think the uptown apartment was more Scandinavian and boho and this is more luxe and mature. I think I sit somewhere in the middle of the two, but I genuinely love both!
Any pet peeves you see in other people’s spaces you avoid in your own?
Insufficient storage and floorplans that don’t flow or connect spaces.
What are some of your favorite places in the house? Can you walk us through how the design has come together?
I definitely did the space in stages and things evolved over some time. I set out with a floorplan but within that things shifted and evolved!
Some of my favorite places are:
The corner area with the two sconces, the concrete wall and the l’objet vases: I love the way the light washes the concrete and exaggerates the texture. That together with the shape of those vases and how unusual they are just makes me so excited!!
The gallery wall in the entry: I love this because its completely timeless and every single piece is evocative. I mixed some existing pieces with new. Some high-end with vintage finds. I love how it follows the line of the ugly dropped ceiling and makes it feel more intentional.
The dining table and chairs that I put lots of love into: I designed my dream dining table and had Boles Studio fabricate it. It’s simple and sturdy, and I am loving the marble top with the steel legs. The dining chairs are from a designer called Rudolf Wolf and he made these in the ‘60s. I collected two sets of four and reupholstered them in an olive mohair velvet! The chandelier is breathtaking and it all comes together so nicely!
My bedroom: The coloring, the moodiness, and the textures—I love my bedroom because it’s calming, which I think is really important to have in your sleeping space! I love the greys layered on top of each other and the sculptural white lighting. The ceiling light is from Apparatus and is appropriately called “The Cloud.” The bedside lamp is the Gatto Lamp from Flos. The art behind the bed is by my friend Christopher Makos.
If you could only save one thing from your space, what would it be?
My son, LOL. Then I would save the art. Then my husband!
Do you already have changes in mind for your space? Projects you dream of tackling next?
I am under very strict instructions that we are never moving in New York City again. I have already learned some lessons from this space. Velvet was a poor choice for the long sofa. It’s very marked already. I also wonder if I should have included more wood.
I am always learning in a professional sense and that will always be seen in my homes. My style will stay the same in its essence, but my confidence and exploration of materials will expand!
Want to read more of Tali’s rental-friendly wisdom? Check out her feature on Elle Decor. If you’re ready to work with Tali on creating your own stylish space, check out some of her other work (like this stunning, customized space) and sign up for Homepolish now.
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